Hacker faces further delay over US extradition ruling

The mother of alleged computer hacker Gary McKinnon has criticised the Home Office for delaying a decision on whether to extradite her son to the United States until mid-October.

The decision, which was relayed to the High Court on Tuesday (July 24), is a blow to Janis Sharp who has fought to stop her son from being extradited for the past six years.

One of the reasons given was the Home Secretary’s “all-consuming” involvement in the Olympic Games.

The US authorities want Mr McKinnon, 46, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome – a form of autism – to stand trial for allegedly hacking into Pentagon and NASA systems ten years ago while he was living in Muswell Hill.


Mr McKinnon claims he was looking for evidence of aliens and UFOs.

Mrs Sharp, of Hertfordshire, said: “I am extremely disappointed by such a long delay.

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“The Home Secretary has already had more than enough medical evidence on which to make a positive decision for Gary.

“The Olympics taking precedence is so sad. It would have been such a huge relief if we too had been given closure to the never-ending mental torment Gary is going through.”

To compound Mrs Sharp’s woes, the Home Office asked Mr McKinnon to undertake further medical tests to see if he is fit to be extradited.

The family refused the tests because they did not believe the medical assessor has enough expertise to determine suicidal tendencies in people with Asperger’s.

This is in spite of the fact that he has undergone assessments with six different specialists over the past three years including two Home Office approved experts.

Three assessments provided to the High Court and Home Office in April said that he was at “extreme risk of suicide” and “unfit for trial”.

Mrs Sharp said: “The latest July 2012 medical report shows what a dreadful mental state Gary is now in, which is exacerbated by the extremely long delays and his seemingly never-ending nightmare.”


She added that the ongoing waiting she and her family were enduring was taking a toll on their lives.

“It’s desperate watching my son like this,” she said.

“Each day that goes by is yet another blow to his mental state.

“The 10 years of waiting, worrying and living in fear is unbearable.

“We would not tolerate an animal being put through such mental torment and cruelty, so how can we allow it to happen to a human being?

“I’m hoping that Theresa May [Home Secretary] will give a positive decision on Gary sooner than the court’s expectation, as we so desperately need a good end, allowing Gary to begin to recover.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “This is a complex case, in a complex area of the law, and a large amount of material has been submitted, some of it relatively recently.

“The Home Secretary needs to consider all the material carefully before making a decision.”

Mr McKinnon would have one final route of appeal left if Mrs May orders his extradition – a request for a judicial review, which could occur in November.